The One Way To Know Your Marriage Will Survive An Affair

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For a marriage to survive an affair there must be a show of genuine remorse on the part of the adulterer. What does that look like, how do you know if his displays of remorse are genuine? If he lied about the affair, he can surely lie about other things, right?

And, that is the crux of the problem when it comes to forgiving an affair and rebuilding a marriage. The lies told during the affair spill over into every aspect of the trust you once had in your husband.

The lies cause you to question your ability to judge what is real and what isn’t real and that frame of mind isn’t conducive to accepting, out of hand, his displays of remorse.

How to tell the difference between guilt and remorse:

Guilt is a self-focused feeling. Remorse is feeling bad for the pain of others. For example, he may feel guilty due to the judgment he receives from you and others over his affair. Guilt is about feeling bad about what THEY did. Remorse is about feeling bad for hurting YOU. 

No lessons are learned from feelings of guilt. He may choose to go back to the affair in order to relieve his feelings of guilt and find solace in the arms of the other woman. Remorse comes from the awareness they he did something bad. That self-awareness will keep him from do that “bad” thing again.
Remorse says, “Forgive me for hurting you.

Guilt says, “Stop making me feel guilty for hurting you.”
For your marriage to survive his affair you must be persuaded that his sorrow, confessions and emotional pain are authentic.

Based on remorse, not guilt. 

How to tell he is truly remorseful:

The following behaviors exhibit feelings of true remorse in the cheater.

1. Not only will he apologize, and often, he will openly express what he is apologizing for. “I’m sorry I hurt you.” Or, “I apologize for and am deeply sorry for betraying your trust in me.” He may also feel the need to show his remorse in actions that he feels will lessen your pain.

It’s all about words and actions!

2. He will hold himself accountable, you won’t have to. He will be more concerned with your feelings than his own and the negative repercussions to him of the affair. 

3. If he is remorseful he will take action. He will be willing to do whatever he needs to do about the harm he caused. Whether that is seeking couple’s therapy or sitting for hours answering, honestly, questions you have of him. He will be onboard with any action you need him to take.

4. He will take full responsibility for his actions. There may have been problems in the marriage, he may have felt unloved and unwanted but, he chose to go outside the marriage and will own that behavior. In other words, there will be no blame or excuse making. His cheating won’t be about something you did, it will be about a bad choice he made!

If, when you discuss the affair with him, he attempts to shut you down, blame you or, tell you it’s “over and done, let it go” he isn’t yet to the point of feeling remorse for his actions. And, until then you are not in a place where it is safe to trust him not to seek out the other woman again.
When attempting to restore a marriage after an affair your first step should be counseling.

An affair is a shocking betrayal that can cause you to doubt your own reality, your role in the affair and what steps to take next. Both spouses being in therapy gives you a guide, an expert in the subject matter to help you navigate the emotionally charged rebuilding of trust.